Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reddish Birds

This is the fellow that started it all. Because I wanted to get a good close-up photo of him, I bought a new big lens for my camera, which led to my buying a new camera, one worthy of such a magnificent lens, which led to my buying a new tripod, one strong enough to support such a big lens, which led to my spending a week in December in Morro Bay to get some use out of the new big lens and put it and me through their paces.

Last week before the rains started again, I went down to Bolsa Chica just to see what I could see. The light was not the greatest for photography, but the Reddish Egret did show up again and performed his magic dances for me. Another birder came by and said I needed a video camera to do him justice, but I liked the challenge of trying to capture the essence of his display motions with a still picture. Was I successful?

As I was shooting copious photos of the egret, another somewhat rare (for L.A.) bird appeared in the water behind me and I swiftly zoomed the camera and tripod around to capture this female Red-breasted Merganser.

The tripod was bought in three pieces from three different companies. The legs are carbon fiber for lightness, the head is a ball head which allows easy motion in any direction, and the pi├Ęce de resistance is a Wimberly head attached to the ball head which is perfect for big lenses and bird photography. I got the Sidekick model especially for its light weight. Altogether, the new tripod is slightly less heavy than my old one. But carrying the camera, the lens, and the tripod around is a challenge for me. That's why photographers love Bolsa Chica, you don't have to hike very far or climb up and down steep cliffs to get to the birds and when you do find them, you can get pretty close without disturbing them. As I was leaving at sunset, a man was just arriving with a larger lens than mine. He attached it with his camera to his tripod and slung the whole thing over his shoulder and off he went. Sigh... I need a Sherpa.

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